Friday Letters To Congress: Coins? Conners?

With all the craziness that is going on in America and the World right now, I was totally baffled by the range of topics on The Floor this week. Here are a couple of favorites:

H.R.2872 – To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of Louis Braille.

H.RES.357 – Honoring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Granted each of these only spent a few minutes on the floor, but think of all the time and energy that had to go into these. Someone has to write up all the language; someone has to distribute copies to everyone else (think of the trees!); its floor time had to be scheduled, my (your) congressman had to consider the matter and decide on a vote… And you may be thinking, how hard is it to write out, “Well done, Sandra!” I’ll tell you, it’s this hard:

1st Session
H. RES. 357

Honoring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.


July 12, 2005

Ms. GINNY BROWN-WAITE of Florida (for herself and Ms. SOLIS) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


Honoring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Whereas Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was born on March 26, 1930, in El Paso, Texas, and grew up in both El Paso and southeastern Arizona on her family’s ranch;

Whereas Justice Sandra Day O’Connor graduated magna cum laude from Stanford University in 1950 with a baccalaureate degree in economics;

Whereas Justice Sandra Day O’Connor graduated from Stanford Law School and was ranked third in a class of 102 graduates;

Whereas Justice Sandra Day O’Connor completed law school in 2 years, instead of the customary 3, and served on the Stanford Law Review;

Whereas Justice Sandra Day O’Connor entered the public sector after her graduation from Stanford Law School as a deputy county attorney for San Mateo County in California, after she was unable to secure a position in a number of private law firms that employed very few, if any, women as attorneys;

Whereas Justice Sandra Day O’Connor served as Assistant Attorney General of Arizona from 1965 to 1969;

Whereas Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was appointed to the Arizona State Senate in 1969 and was subsequently reelected to 2 2-year terms;

Whereas Justice Sandra Day O’Connor became the State Senate Majority Leader in Arizona in 1973, the first woman to serve in that position in any State;

Whereas Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was elected in 1975 as a judge on the Maricopa County Superior Court in Arizona, and served in that position until 1979;

Whereas Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was appointed to the Arizona Court of Appeals in 1979 and served in that position until her confirmation as an Associate Supreme Court Justice;

Whereas in 1981, President Ronald Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor to be the 102d Supreme Court justice and the first female member of the Supreme Court;

Whereas Sandra Day O’Connor was confirmed by the United States Senate unanimously on September 21, 1981, and took her seat on the Supreme Court on September 25, 1981;

Whereas the elevation of Sandra Day O’Connor as the first female justice of the Supreme Court helped pave the way for more women to enter into the legal profession;

Whereas in 2004, women accounted for approximately half of all students enrolled in law school, compared to 35 percent of law students in 1981 and just 4 percent of law students when Justice O’Connor graduated from Stanford Law School in 1952;

Whereas Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has left a thoughtful and enduring mark on American jurisprudence, which has been molded through her wisdom and strong character; and

Whereas Justice Sandra Day O’Connor blazed new trails for her gender and is a role model for all Americans; Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives–
(1) honors Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the occasion of her retirement from the United States Supreme Court;
(2) commends Justice Sandra Day O’Connor for her hard work and dedication to the law; and
(3) recognizes Justice Sandra Day O’Connor as a pioneer for women in law, helping women become a permanent and integral part of the legal profession.

Though, if not like this, then how else could she be official honored by the government? And she should be honored. Maybe I should have picked on the Braille coin resolution. That said, still…

And I do recognize that she was the first female Supreme Court Justice. And I fully acknowledge the significance of this. And I do say “Kudos!” to her for her achievement. But my point is that I recognize all this and re-afirm my “Kudos!” because it is an important milestone for America and women, not because the Legislature made an official resolution about it. Honoring her achievement seems like it should be a given, not a debatable resolution.

But if you are still huffy with me about making light of this House Resolution think of this: You wouldn’t even know about it if I hadn’t told you of it…so how important was it really?

After decades of serving as a judge on the American Supreme Court, getting a plaque from The Gov is like the proverbial retirement watch/pin the rest of us get when we retire. And do you wear that watch/pin with pride? Probably not. In fact, you probably make a B-line for the pawn shop. (Where you go on a rampage when the pawn broker tells you the watch/pin is worthless and refuses to buy it from you.)

Seriously, which is more awesome:

1. A plaque on the wall from The Man. (Imagine going to Sandra Day O’Conner’s house, let’s say for a dinner party. (It could happen.) You see this plaque hanging on the wall. Do you a) comment on the plaque? (“Oh, I see you were a supreme court judge. How very interesting.” Like you didn’t know she was a judge.) Or do you b) look at the picture hanging next to the plaque where she is playing bocce ball with Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston (pre-breakup) and say, “Wow! You play bocce ball?”)


2. Cruising down the street each day for your morning coffee in your judge robes. (If I was a former judge, I would go everywhere in those robes. And when people upset me I would tell them, “You, sir, are out of order!” Which I do anyway, but it comes off bad without the robes. (I assume you get to keep the robes. Though it would be super funny if the incoming judge had to take the robes of the previous judge, because then Alito’s robes would be WAY to short for him. Always having to walk into the Supreme court with his hairy calves exposed. (I have never actually seen Alito’s calves, so I am only speculating here. Perhaps they are pasty and spindly.) Are you even still reading this?))

And if you still think all this is not a silly exercise, remember that it was scheduled in with debates and votes on topics like The Patriot Act, Katrina Relief and food safety regulations. (I told you I’d do my homework.)

But despite all that I actually wrote to my congressman about borrowing gobs of money from China. Seriously, how is this not a bad idea. If there is one thing I’ve learned from Honk Kong action films, the Chinese come to collect their debts…and they expect to get paid. And they get crazy mad if you don’t have the money…which we clearly don’t have.

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